Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jerome Iginla Gives Sidney Crosby Canadian Hero Status And Canada An Olympic Gold Medal In Men's Ice Hockey

Congrats to Team Canada for winning the gold medal and congrats to Mike Richards and Chris Pronger (pictured above) for once again giving a pair of Flyers gold medals, something that has occurred every year since NHLers first came to the Olympics in 1998.

But let's make one thing perfectly clear. Sidney Crosby did not win that game for Canada. Jerome Iginla won the game for Team Canada.

But, JFein, Crosby scored the game-winner? He is a national hero for Canada and da bestest player alive, like OMFG!!!!!!!!!

So what? Just because he scored the goal does not mean he even made a play there because he didn't. Crosby did jackshit on that play other than shoot the puck. It was not a great individual effort on his part. He did not have to allude defenders and get in position for the perfect shot. The only thing he did in that play was shoot the puck.

The person that made that goal possible and the person that should be considered a hero to Canadians and Canadian hockey fans everywhere is Jerome Iginla. And frankly, all the attention being given to Crosby is nothing but a shame to Iginla who did have a great individual effort and who did make a perfect play with 2 US defenders around him. Somehow he got off a perfect pass to a wide open Crosby who buried it. The video supports that.

Yet people will worship Crosby greatness for getting that goal. Crosby was in the right place at the right time, who by his own admission, just shot the puck and did not see it again until it was long in the back of the net. In other words, even Crosby admitted that he was lucky. And he is right. Crosby was lucky. Iginla made the play for him. Crosby is no hero. Crosby is just a lucky bastard who was in the right place at the right time. Jerome Iginla is the hero for Team Canada.

I'll get to positives in a few minutes, but to anyone Pittsburgh Penguin fans living in America all their lives who were rooting for Crosby and Canada all along and were jumping up and down when Crosby scored that game-winner, I have this tactful peace of advice. Leave this country now. You are not a true American and have no business living in this country. I have encountered and and heard about several of you already. Leave. This. Country. Now. You are not unwanted here. You don't belong here. You are not American.

I would not be jumping up and down with pride if Richards or Pronger scored that goal. There is a difference between being content with an outcome against my country and openly rooting against my country. I would be content if Richie or Prongs scored. I would not be happy and first and foremost I would be sad for my country, but I would be content that a Flyer is a Canadian hero (how ironic that would be). People who live in the United States and cheered against the United States in favor of Sidney Crosby need to have themselves deported. You are un-American and I now hate you with every fiber in my being. DIAF and my life will be better for it.

(Update: Here's a perfect example of one from Pensburgh commenter "Cari".
I watched the game with mixed feelings, as an American and a huge Crosby fan. In the overtime, though, I was rooting for Crosby to score the winning goal — when the other lines were out I kept thinking “not yet, not yet…” And then when he scored, I was on my feet screaming and cheering for him. (Sorry America)
I hope I am not the only one extremely disgusted and offended by this as every real American that is a real hockey fan should be.)

Now, onto the positives.

The United States should have no shame for what happened. They were huge underdogs in this tournament. Think about it, everyone was crowing a Canada-Russia finals before the games even started and nowhere was the U.S. ever thought about being a close 3rd. Sweden was more favorite than they were and heck, you are probably accurate in stating that Finland and the Czech Republic were thought to have a better chance this year.

Yet the United States never trailed until the gold medal game. They played beyond what anyone had ever expected and achieved more than anyone had ever expected. In a year when many people thought they would likely end up bowing out in the quarterfinals, they were the #1 seed coming out of pool play, beat Canada in the preliminary round, and were so far better than anyone had any right to expect.

This silver medal is a tremendous accomplishment and when the sting of what happens wears off, it will certainly feel like it. In an event we were not supposed to come close to medaling in, we won a silver and was one goal the other way from winning a gold. This team and this country has everything to be proud for and nothing to be ashamed of regarding this hockey team.

Does it hurt that we lost? Yes. Does it take away the fact that given the situation going in, a silver medal is a tremendous achievement? Not at all.

Americans, be proud of this team. They did you proud. Ryan Miller was the tournament MVP and a deserving one at that. I don't see too many Canadians disagreeing with that choice. He was the class of the tournament bar none. Zach Parise should be worshiped as a great American hockey player everywhere he goes. He was an offensive juggernaut and an amazing player for the USA.

As an American, it sucks that Canada had to win in overtime. As a Flyers fan, I am pissed as hell that it was Crosby that scored the game-winner and is receiving credit for a play that was all Iginla. As a hockey fan, I know that was an epic game and perhaps one of the greatest hockey games I have ever seen. It was a worthy championship and a worthy final with two great teams.

Congrats to Canada, the gold is yours and it is a well-earned one.

Now back to the NHL season and the Flyers giving a chase to Lord Stanley's Cup.

2010 Winter Olympics Day 17 Men's Ice Hockey Live Blog

Gold Medal Game: #1 United States vs. #6 Canada 3:00 (NBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk)

Friday, February 26, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics Day 16 Men's Ice Hockey Open Thread

Bronze Medal Game: #4 Finland vs. #7 Slovakia 10:00 (MSNBC - Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti)

I will be in Washington DC tomorrow, returning right around the start of game, give or take an hour or so. And when I do get back, I will have to deal with the fun of switching between the Villanova and Syracuse game, which starts at 9:00.

The Finns got their asses whooped by the States in a bloodbath first period and Slovakia played like zombies for two periods only to wake up in the 3rd and nearly send Team Canada to overtime. In fact, if Demitra did not miss an open net, there is a chance Canada could be meeting the Finland in this game. But it's Finland and Slovakia and even if my return time is unknown, you should still do it to it in the comments section.

2010 Winter Olympics Day 15 Men's Ice Hockey Live Blog

#1 United States vs. #4 Finland 3:00 (NBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, ItG: Pierre McGuire)
#6 Canada vs. #7 Slovakia 9:30 (CNBC - Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reason #3446 The Drinking Age In The United States Should Be Lowered To 18

I give you 18-year old Marie-Philip Poulin at Canada Hockey Place shortly after Team Canada defeated Team USA to take the gold in women's ice hockey. And yes, my friends, that is a beer. And yes, her drinking that beer is perfectly legal where she is.

Officially, the sexiest hockey picture ever taken.

Update: Damn further research. The drinking age in parts of Canada is 18, but apparently those parts do not include British Columbia, where the drinking age is 19. That being said, her home province is Quebec where the drinking age is 18 and her 19th birthday is 31 days. So before you uptight mounties start getting on me and this, can't we consider all circumstances and accept this for the awesomely legal sexiness that I initially thought it was?

The Legend Of Mike Milbury And Jeremy Roenick's Reactions

By stating that Mike Milbury is brought in for controversy is not exactly breaking any news. He is a poor man's Don Cherry. The fact that he has been making some rather questionable these Olympics should not come as a surprise to anyone.

It is not so much the remarks that have drawn me to put these videos up, but rather the reaction to the remarks by Milbury's co-analyst, Jeremy Roenick. Take for instance his comments on Wednesday that the Germans were fire hydrants and the Canadians were peeing on them (watch JR's reaction at the end of the video)

One day later Mike Milbury would decide to step up his game, as would the reactions from Roenick. After Canada throttled the Russians 7-3 yesterday, Mike Milbury took to calling the Russian hockey team "Eurotrash", which given the meaning of the term and the context he used it in, was really more of a nonsensical insult than something people should get offended over. Again, the reaction of JR to Milbury's comment is worth noting.

I am beginning to wonder if that laugh at the end by JR was the thought going through his mind that there was a chance NBC could pull that dunce off the air for a game or two.

Oh, JR. You truly have been the one and only bright spot in NBC's piss poor Olympic coverage. Not only have you braved Bill Patrick-otron and Mike Milbury, but you have somehow managed to fight them off and give a good, honest analysis backed up with actual fact and reason. While Milbury lives for the controversy, Roenick lives for telling the viewers what is really going on and his honest, well-reasoned opinions.

Seeing as it is doubtful that NBC will do anything to fine or suspend Milbury, one can only hope that some Eurotrash American walks up to him, whips out his dong, and pees on him.

The High School Years: Part 8 - Anger, Threats, And Lies

Forget or missed a part? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Things actually did get better before they got worse. Anna had a problem that I helped her out with (she told me in confidence and to this day I have not told anybody what she told me and I will take her secret to my grave). The problem itself was completely unrelated to anything with Kait and Kelly, but she came to me and I tried to help her get through it. That meant a lot to me.

Then a few days later in physics, my problems started up again. Kait and Kelly came up to me in physics class and told me that Anna got finished telling them how that the only reason I apologized was to be the bigger “person”. They asked if this was true and you can guess what I said:

“No”, in another awkward fashion (not quite as awkward as the first one in the last part, though).

Through this whole thing I had always done my best to remain cool, and with it. But at this point I had lost it. After all I did to help Anna the past week with her problem, she thanked me by tattling on me to Kelly and Kait. I was so angry. I emailed her and asked her, “ it that you must always tell Kait and Kelly what I say about them? Can't you keep anything secret? At all?”

“What now?” replied Anna. “I didn’t tell them anything, as far as I know...” This caught me off guard, but instead of believing her, my friend, I completely blew my top on her.

They said that you (Anna) said that I was cursing them out (like I did the other day). How would they know about it unless one of you told them? Unless of course by Anna, they meant Alura, but I don't know why they would be afraid to say Alura. Remember when I said that I was going to be the "bigger person" by apologizing? How is it that they found out about it? Only two people knew what I wanted to do and if you're reading this email, then you're one of the people. I'm not threatening or anything, I'm just sick of being betrayed when I have kept my word to you. Not even your closest friends know what you told me last week. I tell you these things in hopes that I can trust you not to say anything. But I guess that's just asking too much isn't it. Just deny knowing anything. Is it that hard just to say ‘no’? What good are friends if you can't trust them? Imagine how I feel right now. Every goddamn thing I said to you about them in secrecy you told them. You told them that it was me who overheard them talking about Anna and of my plans and that I ‘cursed them out’ and it made me look like an idiot. Now you're in my position. They ratted you out Anna. Fess up that you told them that because they knew, they said you told them. I can understand that you have more loyalty to them than to me, but when somebody asks you not to say anything, can you at least honor that one request? After all I did for you. Maybe if I wasn't so good to you, then maybe I would understand, but after all I did for you the past 2 weeks. You told me things that you didn't even tell your best friends. And this is what I get? Not only do I not get a thank you, but I get stabbed in the back. Yeah, I'm hurt right now. I mean after all I did for you, Anna. Some friend you are...
And that’s how I ended that email. I was clearly mad. Granted I probably came down a little too hard (actually I came down harder then I intended). Sometimes when you’re mad you say things that you don’t mean. All day I kept waiting and waiting for a reply. As it turned out, I had to wait the next day to get that reply. Coincidentally, that next day was the same day I got accepted into Bloomsburg University.

Anna responded:

Holy crap! What the hell did I do? I most honestly did not tell them anything! They told me that you came up to them and such, and I was like ok whatever and then they started going, ‘was that planned? Did he do that on purpose to make us feel bad or something?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know, why don’t you ask him?’ Apparently it was the wrong thing to say, but whatever. I am not even involved in this. It’s between you, Kait and Kelly. So stop cursing at me! Seriosuly, calm down. Oh and Alura would like to say that you can’t yell at me like that especially when I’m innocent because when you yell at me, it’s like you’re yelling at her, and we're not going to stand for this sort of thing any longer, so if we get one more nasty email from you, we're taking you off our contacts list and never talking to you again
For some reason beyond this world’s greatest minds, I had CCed my nasty email to Alura as well. Obviously I felt like a complete dunce. Again. I had just been accepted into Bloomsburg but I felt as if I couldn’t even make it into Kindergarten. I was very sorry for what I said and proceeded to apologize my ass off to Anna and Alura. And I do mean apologize. I apologized for everything I said to them; I didn’t realize they were innocent. I felt awful. I felt ashamed. I felt embarrassed, humiliated, and angry. And I was determined to get back at Kait and Kelly for putting me through this miserable day. I was determined to go up to them the next day and right in their face call them out on what they did.

The next day (in physics class, once again), I approached them and demanded, “Exactly what did Anna tell you I said?”

“Why don’t you ask Anna. She knows everything. She is God.” was the response I got from Kait. That response told me everything I needed to know. It was obvious that they were covering up their own behinds. It was clear they were hiding the fact that they made it up and I had them right where I wanted them. I proceeded to question them further and they tried to sugarcoat everything. They even went as far as to say that, “Anna lies all the time”. To me, this was just another obvious attempt by them in order to put the blame on Anna.

In order to try to further persuade Anna and Alura that I was in the wrong and that Kait and Kelly set me up I emailed them and told them all about what happened and that Kait lied. I even made the mistake of telling Anna that Kait had said what she said about Anna lying. In retrospect, I should have kept fingers under control.

“I’ve found out that they did not say I was lying. They were pissed off at you so they tried to get you to leave them alone. You are trying to ruin our friendship”, was the message I received in my inbox when I got home that day. I couldn’t believe that. Kait and Kelly had said that and they had said it blatantly. Whether it was true or made up on the fly to get rid of me I don’t know, but there I was, once again a victim of their deception. There was no convincing Anna of my side of the story. Anna had known Kait and Kelly for x amount of years and I had only known them for one year. Anna was enraged at me and I could feel it. Before I even had the chance to reply, Anna sends me another email claiming

“You lied to me and told me that Kait and Kelly called me a liar, you’re purposely trying to break up me and Kait, you attacked Kait and Kelly when they were in the middle of a physics lab that they were about to fail, and you annoyed the two out of their minds, therefore annoying me. Therefore, I’m probably severing ties at this point. P.S. With you, not with them”

I couldn’t believe it. Although some of the propaganda they were feeding her was true, a lot of it was either made up of blown out of proportion and because Anna is so tight with them there was no way I could possibly convince her of otherwise. However, her most frivolous accusation was that I was trying to break their friendship. I was not trying to do that.

I responded,

I am not trying to break up your friendship. You've known each other x amount of years, and I'm not going to try and penetrate that wall, if you will. I'm concerned about our friendship. The way I've been thinking the past couple days is that they are trying to break up our friendship. And I think they may be succeeding in doing so, as much as I don't want it to happen. I have no problem never talking to them again. In fact, I won't talk to them unless they approach me. Is that what you're so upset about? That I'm trying to break up your friendship? Is that is what is irking you? Because if it is, it's not true, and I'm sorry if I led you to believe that but I was just trying to prove to you that they were lying to me about you telling them that I shook their hands only to be the "bigger person". I was trying to help our friendship, not damage yours with Kait and Kelly.”
“What friendship?” she replied. “I don’t consider you my friend. Kait and Kelly weren't trying to destroy any friendships. They were trying to make you go away”.

I had always considered her my friend, but she obviously didn’t have the same feelings for me. That part though wasn’t actually news to me; I knew that I always considered her more of a friend than she considered me. She also added, “I don’t want you coming in between me and Alura and me and Kait anymore”.

I spent the rest of the night trying to convince her to reconcile but she wouldn’t budge. Not one bit. I was willing to do anything I possibly could to get her back. I had felt so bad for what I had started and what I did to everyone that I ended up sending an apology email to everyone, Kait, Kelly, Alura, and Anna, where I went on a long rant about how sorry I was (and believe me, I was sorry) and how I should have kept my big mouth shut from the very beginning. Kait, Kelly, and Alura never replied back to me. But Anna did.

“Dear god, why drag them into your horribly long and twisted emails that ramble with no point? Besides, didn’t I already make it clear to you that I value Kait, Alura, and Kelly’s friendships more and I don’t want you trying to come between us anymore so all this stuff really wasn’t necessary.”

Still trying to convince her to forgive me, I replied.

I'm trying to mend the wall, not tear it down completely “I'm not trying to come between you and Alura and Kelly and Kait, I'm trying to have this whole thing forgotten about. Your comment about my horribly long and twisted emails that ramble with no point was pretty funny, actually. I do ramble on and on and on. Which is funny because when I speak, I just speak to the point, but when I email, I do tend to ramble. Though I felt this had a point. It may have been the world's longest ramble but it had a point.

Come on Anna, I know what's done is done. I know I can't hop in a time machine and change the past (although I wish I could). I know you and Kait and Kelly and Alura are ‘bffs’ and nothing will change that. Not me, that's for damn sure. But we can move on and forget about it. I'm done fighting. I made mistakes. I admit it. I screwed up. Big time. I have no problem with you being ‘bffs’ with Alura and Kelly and Kait. Go ahead. I just don't want our friendship/relationship/whatever-you-call-it to end because of this. So can you find it in your heart to forgive me and start anew?”
I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I was on the brink of losing one of the people of whom I confide in the most. This couldn’t be happening to me.

“Do you honestly have absolutely no emotions at all?” she answered me. “Why don’t you ever get pissed off at the things you’re supposed to get pissed off at? You get pissed when you think I’m lying, but when I outright tell you, in a moment of anger, that I’m not friends with you and I want you out of my life, you don’t even take offense, you just keep apologizing? If it were me, I would have slapped myself by now. Actually, bitch-slapped would be the more appropriate term here”.

In that email, I saw a very keyword: “moment of anger”. That meant a lot to me. It meant that maybe she had said something that she hadn’t meant. I felt myself gaining more and more control over a once helpless situation.

“No emotions? NO EMOTIONS? NO EMOTIONS???” I replied in a joking manner. I could feel this thing turning around.

I continued,

Pretty much everything I've said today has been emotional, just not the emotion of anger. The only person I was really angry at today was myself.

I was pissed off because I thought you betrayed me. When you said you wanted me out of my life, I was just upset and wanted to get you back in my life. I really enjoy emailing with you and Alura. It gives me something to look forward to on a day-to-day basis. Believe me, I've been bitch-slapping myself in my mind ever since this whole thing started”.
And even though that was Anna’s terminology I had borrowed, it was true. I was regretting ever starting this whole thing. I wished I had never listened to Kait and Kelly’s conversation that I thought had been mocking Anna’s project.

“No emotions meaning anger. That’s cool”, was her reply. That’s cool. I had finally gotten to her and saved my “friendship” with Anna. Even though it wasn’t a straight-up message saying, “I forgive you”, that was her way of saying, “it’s all good”, and that was good enough for me. For the first time in a long time, I was at peace with myself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Bungling The Brian Westbrook Release

And you thought the prank call was as bad as it got.

If teams are actually interested in the services of ex-Redskin bust Michael Westbrook, then I think they need to have their head examined pronto for every memory disease known to man and the 343 memory diseases known to monkeys.

2010 Winter Olympics Day 13 Men's Ice Hockey Live Blog

#1 USA vs. #8 Switzerland 3:00 (NBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, ItG: Pierre McGuire)
#3 Russia vs. #6 Canada 7:30 (CNBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk)
#4 Finland vs. #5 Czech Republic 10:00 (CNBC - CTV Feed: Peter Loumbardias and Ray Ferraro)
#2 Sweden vs. #7 Slovakia 12:00 AM (CNBC - Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti)

Brian Westbrook Looks Forward To A Future Of Worshipping The Prostate Of Howard Stern

In case you did not see it due to it being behind Ian Eagle commenting on a cheerleader being eaten by a Raptor or the live blog of a thrilling qualification round, the Eagles released Brian Westbrook today. As with any big story, ESPN wanted the first major TV interview with him to ask him if a business decision hurt him personally. They thought they had gotten him live in the late night edition of SportsCenter, only to find out that instead they crank called by a either a Howard Stern fan, or someone directly associated with Howard Stern. Prepare for hilarity.

Too too funny! And to think that guy did not even sound a thing like Brian Westbrook to begin with. You would think that they've heard enough Westbrook interviews to know what he sounds like, but apparently they bought it all the way until the caller declared that he wanted to worship Howard Stern's prostate.

I can't stop watching that and I can't stop laughing. Credit to SVP though for handling it professionally, even though he was a little shell-shocked that just happened.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics Day 12 Men's Ice Hockey Live Blog

It's the playoff qualification round and you know what that means. In 11 hours, 4 teams will be able to declare they cannot win a gold medal in men's ice hockey. As long as you are not trolling, come join us for the festivities!

#8 Switzerland vs. #9 Belarus 3:00 (USA - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, ItG: Pierre McGuire) (Winner plays United States)
#6 Canada vs. #11 Germany 7:30 (CNBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk) (Winner plays Russia)
#5 Czech Republic vs. #12 Latvia 10:00 (CNBC - CTV Feed: Peter Loumbardias and Ray Ferraro) (Winner plays Finland)
#7 Slovakia vs. #10 Norway 12:00 (CNBC - Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti) (Winner plays Sweden)

Ian Eagle Is Startled By A Raptor Swallowing A Cheerleader

I have no words for this.

(Hat tip to Chuck Todd on Twitter)

BREAKING: Eagles Release Westbrook

From Jeff McLane of the Inquirer on Twitter

It's amazing how quick running backs just fall off the map. We've seen it with Shaun Alexander a few years ago in Seattle, LT getting released yesterday by San Diego (message to the Eagles: No! No! NO! Don't even think about LT), and now, the Eagles have released Brian Westbrook.

As good as Westbrook was, his days in the NFL are clearly over. Injuries have just caught up to him to a point where if he tries to play football again that there is a chance of suffering a much more permanent and/or longer-lasting injury. While this was the Eagles decision and not Westbrook's, I do hope that Westbrook sees the message being sent here and does the right thing for himself, his healthy, and his family and just retires. The risk just is not worth it.

While I always thought he was a tad overrated by the media, Westbrook did provide explosiveness out of the backfield when he ran the ball to the outside (Westbrook sucked up the middle) and on screen passes. While part of that will be missed, I feel that Shady can be an explosive running back and as Wade Phillips do brilliantly demonstrated in the Pro Bowl, screens to DeSean Jackson work. Did you see that Andy? DeSean Jackson is just as much a threat to break a big one by catching a dink and dunk screens as he is of breaking one by locating and catching one of those things that McNabb chucks up in the air every once and awhile.

With the release of Westbrook, thus continues the Eagles 2010 off-season of making the right moves. It's good to see Reid, Lurie, Banner, Roseman, and all the other FO idiots getting their act together and making the right off-season moves. I know you may think it is pointless that I constantly point out and bring up the little things that they do, but it is those little things that will eventually add up to a lot and lead the team to a Super Bowl championship.

The High School Years: Part 7 - A Simple Misunderstanding

Forget or missed a part? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

(Editor's Note: While I originally meant to post this morning but just forgot, upon my realizing my forgetfulness, I realized I would be better off posting it today. As you may have guessed or figured out, Anna and Alura are currently seniors and assuming the weather holds up, today is their last mock trials trial, unless they advance to the 2nd round. So in honor of them and in wishing them the best of luck, here is Part 7 of The High School Years, even though this particular part does not have much to do with mock trials competition)

The summer came by and the summer went. Did Anna, Alura, and myself still email? Yes. Were we emailing less now than we did our last blowout? That would depend on who you ask, probably. Was my crush on Alura a constant thought? No. I had pretty much come to terms with the fact that I would never be able to score a date with her, but I still wanted her. It’s a contradiction in a way, yes, but at the same time, reality does not always click with my desires. However, we did like to talk about one crush: Yes, Anna’s crush on Tom Riddle of the Harry Potter series and other celebrity crushes was a frequent butt of my jokes. Hey, she made fun of my crush on Jodie Sweetin before, I can rib her for liking Tom Riddle, Robert Pattinson, Tobey Maguire, and Orlando Bloom, among others. In other words, things were par for the course.

A week after my 18th birthday, Anna sent me (and several others) an email about a project she was doing. She was looking for people to help her out, seeing as it was a big project (not a school project, but kind of like a community service type deal). I emailed her back and said yes. I really didn’t think much about it, other than what was actually there. I just thought that I would be helping her with her little project. I did not realize that this would be one of the catalysts of a huge argument between us.

So I arrive at school the next day, with her project one of the last things on my mind. Anyway, I arrive in physics class, and two of Anna’s friends that received that email about her project, Kait and Kelly, are in that class. And as I am walking in, I hear them talking and I hear them mention Anna’s name. I stop dead in my tracks. It was kind of like one of those things where you couldn’t help but listen but yet you didn’t want them to know you were listening. I was trying to pick up what they were saying, not getting much, but I heard Anna’s name along with some giggles and other things that I thought sounded negative. I am trying to act as natural as possible, going to my seat yet keeping an ear on their conversations, while trying to fend off the sweat. Whenever I’m in an uncomfortable situation like this, the temperature always seems to ratchet up to 150 degrees. I couldn’t pick up much more, just enough that I had a pretty good idea that what they were saying about Anna was negative, the key word being idea.

I went through the rest of the day debating whether or not I should tell Anna that I was pretty sure I heard Kait and Kelly mocking her and her project. I arrive home that day, still unsure about what I should do. I decided to ask Alura, of all people. Just like I turned to Anna for my problems with Alura, I went to Alura with my worries about Anna. I tell her my story and ask her, “how tight is Anna with Kelly and Kait?”

“Um, just tell her, I guess, and see how she reacts. But just be, you know, light about it. Like it's not a really big deal”, she replied.

I take Alura’s advice and decide to tell her. And surprisingly, there isn’t much of a problem. I tell Anna the whole story, truthfully and honestly, like I told it above and her response kind of caught me off guard.

“Kait actually really likes the idea, she’s said so to my face. What you probably heard was them talking about me telling a friend of mine who told Kait that another friend of mine called him gay and that I spent an hour with him on the phone last night. You could be right though. Thanks. Keep listening to their conversations, please?” I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting but this certainly was not it.

A few days go by with no mention to this problem whatsoever. Naturally, I think that it’s all water under the bridge that Anna was just keeping a closer eye out on them. I didn’t really anticipate her asking them about, which of course is exactly what she did. So a few days later, something really strange happens.

Our physics teacher had a Jenga game in the corner of the room that we can play for extra credit before class starts. I was going over there to play Jenga (and in the process I have to pass the desk of Kait and Kelly) and Kelly came up to me and asked, “if I knew Anna?” I was startled. I had no idea if they were just asking around (Anna had told them about the physics class part) or had they known it was me. Once again, the temperature in the room ratcheted up to 150 degrees. I fumbled around in my mind thinking of an answer. Since I didn’t really have much of a lie planned out I just answered yes. Big mistake on my part. They then proceeded to cross-examine me as if I were a witness on the witness stand.

“Did you talk to Anna recently?”


“How often do you talk to her?”

“Pretty much everyday”.

They then ask me the question that I was hoping they would never ask. “Did you tell Anna that we were saying bad things about her?”

The answer that came out of my mouth was the most awkward “no” I have ever spoken in my life. I was about as startled as an old lady after she wins the lottery.

A few days later, Anna helped clear things up for me. She spoke to Kelly and Kait and her hunch about what they were talking about was right, thus making me look even more of an idiot. But she wasn't mean spirited about it at all. Or at least I thought it wasn't.

As I’m thinking this thing is all over, Kait and Kelly approach me (in physics again) and they got in my face and told me that they knew it was me. More trouble. Alura had told on me. I just ignored them at first but when I realized they weren’t going away I was short with them and replied, “Anna is my friend. I am loyal to her. I have no loyalty to you”. It wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination the nicest reply or maybe the best thing I could have said in that situation, but I just wanted the thing to be over seeing as I had already been embarrassed enough. And really. Anna was someone who helped me get through one of the biggest hurdles in my life. Kait and Kelly were just two random girls who I had never even knew existed before this incident.

Throughout this whole entire thing Anna did remain supportive of me and never got mad at me. As I walked into the door for mock trials, our first meeting of the year, I am startled to find Anna with Kait in the room. She was not in mock trials last year at all. What the heck was she doing there now? They came up to me and in a very snooty way Kait told me

“See, we’re best friends”.

“Okaaaaaaay,” I thought to myself, especially considering the stuck-up way in which she said it. However, there was not really much doubting it as both Kait and Kelly both knew the story about me and Alura, and guess what folks, I was not the one to tell them!

Anyways, Anna was nice enough to apologize for that and admitted that Kait did that so that she could be right. And Kait was not actually joining mock trials either. She just wanted to shove that in my face. Congrats, Kait, job well done!

That gave me an idea, though. I was willing to let this whole thing go, but Kait’s snooty comment and the way she walked into Mr. Zu’s and our mock trials meeting just to shove something in my face really pissed me off. Even though Anna apologized on her behalf, I was still mad at Kait so I hatched a plan to apologize to them just to make me seem better. Now yes, I was sorry for the incident, but because of the way they approached me all the time, I really didn’t feel like I had to apologize. Anna was still my friend and that was all I had cared about up to that point. Now it was time for me to show them off. I told Anna and Alura what I was planning to do, which in hindsight was probably one of the bigger mistakes I’ve made since knowing Anna and Alura.

I arrive in physics class that day and I waste no time and going up to them and saying,

“I am really sorry about this whole thing. It was a simple misunderstanding. I thought I had heard something that I clearly didn’t and I think we can start over”. I then proceed to offer my hand in friendship. First to Kelly and then she called over Kait.

“Wait, what?”, Kait asked.

“He said he’s sorry”, Kelly stated.

“I’m really sorry for everything that happened”, I reiterated to Kait.

“Wow, I really did not expect this”, Kait replied in her typical slightly stuck-up and her sarcastic manner as she shook my hand.

I thought to myself, finally this nightmare of a simple misunderstanding gone totally awry was finally over.

Boy was I wrong.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Closer Look: Bobby Ryan

While I am always rooting for Team USA, in a Team USA devoid of Flyers and filled with Devils, I'll admit it is kind of hard to find individual players to root for. Sure I could hop on the David Backes Bandwagon, but I am pretty sure every USA fan has done that now (at least all Team USA Puck Daddy readers). It has been mentioned countless times by Doc and Edzo that Bobby Ryan is from Cherry Hill, New Jersey (which is near Philly in Southern Jersey; a.k.a. the good part of NJ), but if you couple that with his incredible story, then it is difficult to not root for him, regardless of what team you are a fan of, let alone if you are a passionate Flyers fan. The Star Ledger has the incredible background story of the American Olympian. It is a long story, but take the time to read it, as you won't soon forget it.

Bobby Shane Stevenson awoke to a nightmare on Oct. 30, 1997.

The 10-year-old had fallen asleep shortly after returning from attending a Philadelphia Flyers game the night before. He went to bed upstairs not knowing his life would change forever in the next few hours.

He didn’t hear his dad — insurance company owner Robert Stevenson — storm into the family home in Cherry Hill, drunk, looking for his mother, Melody. Stevenson was sure his wife was taking drugs.

Their only child didn’t hear the screams and the panic. He didn’t see the bizarre chase down the street into a neighbor’s house. His father, an amateur boxer, ripped the door off the hinges and whaled away at the love of his life, causing her to bleed from her mouth and sending her to Cooper University Hospital in Camden for four days with four broken ribs, a fracture to her skull and a punctured lung.

Robert Stevenson was charged with attempted murder and five other felony counts. He tried to obtain a passport using the name of a dead baby before jumping bail. He fled to Canada and his wife, who had forgiven him, and his son later joined him.

Robert Stevenson and his son changed their names and lived under assumed identities and the family lived on the lam.

Today, the boy who protected his family’s dark and complicated secret for much of his life is a pivotal part of the U.S. Olympic hockey team that faces Canada.

The name on the back of his hockey jersey is different from the one he was born with, but Bobby Ryan realized he needed to tell the truth and no longer hides from it.

"I didn’t feel like I really had an identity," says the 22-year-old star of the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks. "I knew I had to tell my story."

And his father has never forgotten how that one night long ago changed three lives so dramatically.

"I regret it every day," he says. "This is mine for the rest of my life. Fortunately, I have two people that put me in a position to be able to make it up to them."


On the run, he combed parts of Canada and Alaska, looking for good junior hockey programs for his son. Bobby had a gift that needed to be cultivated.

The fugitive’s scouting trip ended in El Segundo, Calif., just outside Los Angeles, where an elite hockey feeder system was in place.

Before his wife and son arrived, Stevenson changed his name. Bob Stevenson became Shane Ryan, an alias created after watching the movie "Saving Private Ryan."

His son changed his name, too.

Bobby Stevenson disappeared.

"My parents made it clear," he says. "They were serious, so I only had to be told once: ‘You’re Bobby Ryan to anybody who asks. No exceptions."

While the father became a professional gambler, his son’s game on the ice flourished under an assumed identity.

The family had repaired the wounds, even if they were still living with their secret.

Then one day in February 2000, Bobby Ryan was sleeping on a couch on the first floor of their home when his world changed again.

It was 4:45 a.m.

Federal marshals burst into the house and took away his father at gunpoint. The man who had set in motion a new life for his family 3,000 miles from his crime had made one critical mistake: He used an old credit card to rent a movie at Blockbuster.

Law enforcement tracked him down shortly thereafter.

The ruse was over.


Ryan was extradited to New Jersey, where he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and jumping bail. He was sentenced to five years in a Camden prison.

The father has legally changed his name to Bob Ryan and works at Bob Clarke’s Gym in Cherry Hill, owned by the Flyers’ former star and current executive. Bob Ryan says he regrets what he did 13 years ago but he doesn’t regret his decision to flee from New Jersey.

"It probably makes absolutely no sense to 95 percent of the people," he says. "I’m not saying that what happened was good. I’m saying what happened had positive changes for Bobby."

The kid rocketed up the youth rankings in Michigan and thrived in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada. The father saw none of it.

"I missed more games than I care to count," Bob Ryan says. "I couldn’t travel to Canada because the parole department wouldn’t permit me to. But I wouldn’t trade any of those things for where he ended up."

As the 2005 NHL Draft approached, Bobby Ryan reached a crossroads. He didn’t want to hide behind the family secret anymore.

"It wasn’t easy by any means," the player says. "I didn’t want to have people ask about my parents and have to lie. If you hide it, it’s more than likely going to come out at some point. Then you’re going to have to deal with the repercussions of not being honest in the first place."

So Ryan exposed his complicated past before the Ducks selected him with the No. 2 overall pick, just after the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted Sidney Crosby. "Through it all, I became more independent," Ryan says. "I certainly don’t have any skeletons in my closet."


The couple inside the house on Merchant Street in Cherry Hill lives a simple life now. Bobby Ryan and Melody (who has kept her married name, Stevenson) are still together. They’ll both be in the stands today to cheer for their son.

"Does he have scars? Probably," the father says. "But he’s a good kid. He’s honest. He’s forthright. He’s genuinely good to other people. He took the right path."

The name stretched across the back of his son’s jersey is no longer an anchor.

"Stevenson was just going to bring about turmoil," Bobby Ryan says.

A 6-foot-2, 210-pound forward with a blend of speed and power, Ryan has flourished in his first two seasons in the NHL. In 2009, he finished second in the voting for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the league’s top rookie.

"He’s a guy that can change a game by himself," said Team USA architect Brian Burke, who was Anaheim’s general manager five years ago when he drafted Ryan. "This guy can break a game open."

Last Monday, the day before he scored Team USA’s first goal of the Olympics, the young star stood inside Canada Hockey Place, retracing his strange road and sharing a family saga that somehow emboldened him.

Bobby Ryan stopped hiding long ago.
It certainly takes a lot of bravery to be honest about a past like that. And if something like that comes out accidentally during a season and is revealed by some random reporter, it would most likely be some sort of hockey scandal. Ryan set himself free by clearing the air early on his career and now it is one less thing that he has to worry about when he is on the ice. That's not to say he is not forgetful of it, but could you imagine hiding something like that while playing in front of thousands of fans over 82 times per year?

There may not be a Flyer per se on Team USA, but Bobby Ryan is certainly the player who I am really rooting to do something special for Team USA. He already has a goal for Team USA and he is certainly someone that Flyers fans can really get behind, and frankly if there is one person on this team who I want to score a game-winning goal in a potential gold medal game, it is Bobby Ryan. You would be hard-pressed to find a more deserving player than him.

Brad Nessler Channels His Inner Pam Ward

We all know Pammy and her horrible ineptness in of never knowing what the situation is in a game. Well, last Saturday during the Kentucky-Vanderbilt game, Brad Nessler made a mistake that Pam Ward would have been proud of.

Down by 2, Vandy got off a last second shot at the buzzer. Despite the fact that it was a 2-point shot, Brad Nessler did not exactly see it that way.

"Ogleby for the win.....missed it!" - Brad Nessler on a shot that would have TIED the game.

In fairness to him, Brad Nessler did correct himself afterward, however, in a situation where there is 2.5 seconds left in a 2-point game, it is absolutely imperative that an announcer has a fundamental grasp of basic mathematics and rules of basketball as botching a game-winning call like that can be quite unforgivable in some broadcasting circles.

Meet Jayson Werth's New Beard

Awesome does not begin to describe it.

(Photo courtesy of The Zo Zone. For a whole collection of awesome Werth beard pics and some even more awesome Werth beard pic photoshops, visit The Fightins)

30 Years Ago Today: MIRACLE!

Believe it or not, it was 30 years today that the United States Hockey Team defeated the Soviet Union in the Medal Round of the 1980 Olympic Ice Hockey Tournament in a game now known simply as the Miracle On Ice.

What is frequently forgotten is that this was just a Medal Round game and was not the gold medal game. The gold medal would be clinched by the United States 2 days later on February 24 by defeating Finland by a 4-2 score.

Update: Perusing YouTube, I just stumbled upon gold, pure gold. We all know Al Michaels' famous call on TV, however, the game was also broadcast on radio with Curt Chaplin standing on a platform and recording every word into a tape recorder. In 2005, these tapes were rediscovered and matched to the video, thus essentially giving you a second call of The Miracle On Ice. I know some people worship the Michaels call and would not ever want to hear anyone else call that game, but if you are interested, the video is below and Chaplin's call is just as emotional.

Men's Ice Hockey Qualification Playoffs Schedule

I have updated this information in the "2010 Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Schedule", but I figured I would post it here as well so everybody could see it right away without refreshing a schedule page that I have not updated since the tournament began.

Anyways, here is your exact ice hockey schedule for Tuesday, February 23, 2010.

#8 Switzerland vs. #9 Belarus 3:00 (USA) (Winner plays United States)
#6 Canada vs. #11 Germany 7:30 (CNBC) (Winner plays Russia)
#5 Czech Republic vs. #12 Latvia 10:00 (CNBC) (Winner plays Finland)
#7 Slovakia vs. #10 Norway 12:00 (CNBC) (Winner plays Sweden)

While it is hard to say that any of these games will come close to being as good or as exciting as USA vs. Canada was last night, it could still provide for some interesting games when you consider that all games from here on out are win or go home.

Announcers for each game have not been formally revealed yet, but if I had to take a guess, I would guess Doc and Edzo will be doing the 3 games at Canada Hockey Place and Kenny and Joe will be in UBC Thunderbird Arena for Czech Republic-Latvia.

Eddie Olczyk's Entry Into The Announcer Quote Hall Of Fame


Going right up there with Tim Brando's puns, Joe Buck's "disgusting act", Ron Thulin's Touchdown USC (when it was Stanford's GW TD), and just about everything Mike Milbury says, comes the newest entry to the Announcer Quote Hall of Fame, or Shame, depending on how you look at it. Here is Eddie Olczyk describing how good of a hockey game this was. As you listen, you might note the phrase, "tremendously tremendous".

Wow, Edzo. Just wow. I know it was an exciting game, but really, "tremendously tremendous"? You could not have spared yourself some infamy and gone with "tremendously exciting".

Well from what I understand your quote became a Twitter Trending Topic (cotdamn my walk and shower shortly after the game!), so congrats Edzo on that tremendously tremendous achievement.

A Tremendously Tremendous Millercle On Ice

Here is the USA game-clinching goal empty net goal scored by Phil Kesler, along with Doc Emrick's inhuman scream that shortly followed.

I feel bad for those that did not or could not see that game as in my mind, that was bar none the game of the year thus far this year. A back and forth instant classic that ended with the good guys winning and Sidney Crosby, despite scoring a goal in the 3rd, going -3 with an early 1st period USA goal bouncing off his stick and into the net. LOL Crosby. Enough laughing at Crosby and onto praising the star of the game: Ryan Miller. He was fantastic and if it was not for him, Canada could have easily had 5, 6, or even 7 goals that game. And on the other side, Marty Brodeur was not up to the task of outshining Miller. He struggled throughout the game.

And if Eddie Olczyk saying "tremendously tremendous" ever winds up on YouTube and I get wind of it, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be on here as frankly, in the game of the year, Edzo gave us the announcer quote of the year.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics Day 10 Men's Ice Hockey Live Blog


Group B: Russia vs. Czech Republic 3:00 (NBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, ItG: Pierre McGuire)
Group A: Canada vs. United States 7:40 (MSNBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk)
Group C: Sweden vs. Finland 12:00 AM (MSNBC - Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti)

Why Putting USA Vs. Canada On MSNBC May Just Be For The Best For Hockey Fans

The argument has been going on for some time now back and forth. The USA and Canada game is going to be on MSNBC while NBC decides to air ice dancing, which believe it or not, is the name of a figure skating event. James Craven feels that this is wrong, and while I can't blame him or any other hockey fan for feeling that way, sometimes the less-appealing option on the surface may be the better option for all involved.

Now I assume that everyone reading this gets MSNBC (if you don't then you have every reason to be as pissed off and irate as you have ever been in your life), and in making this argument, I am making it with the knowledge that I get MSNBC.

The fact of the matter is, as much as hockey fans are upset that hockey is being put down, things could be worse. Let's look at the positives of the game being on MSNBC: It will be live coast-to-coast without interruptions. Why do I say that? Because put this game over-the-air on NBC and that would not happen. From Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune

Christopher McCloskey, an NBC Universal Sports and Olympics vice president, said one benefit of putting the hockey game on MSNBC is that it can run there without being cut up into segments to accommodate other sports as NBC customarily does in prime time to cover as much ground and as many viewer interests as possible.

"The incorporation of cable platforms into Olympic programming allows for the avid sport fan to watch games the way they are used to watching them — with long-form coverage," McCloskey said.
TV by the numbers also points out what I stated above that this game would be on tape delay on the west coast if it were to be aired on NBC.

Now as a hockey fan, I would much rather watch a fully live, uninterrupted hockey game on a cable channel then watch it over the air on NBC with Bob Costas giving us ice dancing updates unbeknownst to the fact that just Patrick Kane scored a goal and we missed it because Costas was talking about the top ranked ice dancing team just wiped out. Now as a hockey fan who gets MSNBC, I can live with this just fine. Would I want to see hockey reach a broader audience? Sure. But at the same time, do I want to only see segments of the game with long, non-intermission interruptions by Bob Costas during the game? Heck no.

And is there anyone out on the West Coast that would not know the result of the game by the time it "started" if they were to air it on tape delay?

I know that putting this game on MSNBC is not the kindest thing that NBC Universal has ever done to hockey, but given the alternative of what putting this game on NBC would mean, isn't putting the game on MSNBC really the better deal in the end for fans that just want to watch the game?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics Day 9 Men's Ice Hockey Open Thread

Group A: Norway vs. Switzerland 3:00 (MSNBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, SR: Pierre McGuire)
Group B: Latvia vs. Slovakia 7:30 (MSNBC - Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti)
Group C: Germany vs. Belarus 12:00 AM (MSNBC - Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti)

Here are the standings thus far from 1-12 (points are next to the team; goal differential where needed is the number in parentheses).

Finland - 6 (+9)
United States - 6 (+7)
Czech Republic - 6 (+5)
Sweden - 6 (+4)
Canada - 5
Russia - 4
Slovakia - 2
Switzerland - 1
Belarus - 0 (-6)
Germany - 0 (-7)
Latvia - 0 (-9)
Norway - 0 (-13)

Thus if there were not to be a 3rd round of games, the schedule for the elimination would look like this:

Finland, United States, Czech Republic, and Sweden all get byes to the quarterfinals.

In the secondary round quarterfinal qualification games to be held on Tuesday February 23, Canada would play Norway, Russia would play Latvia, Slovakia would play Germany, and Switzerland would battle Belarus.

But as we all know there is a 3rd round with today being the real seedings placer for the lesser teams and tomorrow being the big rivalry day that could give us a few shake-ups in the standings. It should be a fun couple days of hockey especially seeing as once again, Latvia is going to be featured in primetime against Slovakia.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh Noes! The Heroes Voted Out Stephenie!

Here is the end of last night's episode and the subsequent downfall of Kyle Kendrick's fiancee Philadelphia's favorite Survivor, Stephenie LaGrossa. Get your hankies ready.

I can't make it through that video with crying and bawling my eyes out. Really. I just can't. Stephenie!!! NO! We'll miss you.

Moving on, though, on the plus side of things, Kyle Kendrick has a new idol. I like Kyle Kendrick and unless the Phillies bring in a free agent, I would like to see him get back in the starting rotation and try to prove himself. He's really re-dedicated himself over this off-season and while his past results have never been something to cheer and write home about, I think if given one more chance, Kendrick may just show us a little thing or 2 that Doc taught him.

2010 Winter Olympics Day 8 Men's Ice Hockey Open Thread

Group C: Belarus vs. Sweden 3:00 (MSNBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, ItG: Pierre McGuire)
Group B: Czech Republic vs. Latvia 7:30 (CNBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk)
Group C: Finland vs. Germany 12:00 AM (MSNBC)

For Everyone That Fell Asleep Last Night

Seeing as aside from me and kt, I have not encountered a person that was able to stay awake to see the fantastic end of last night's game Russia-Slovakia game, here is the link to the video of the entire shootout at (NBCOlympics does not allow embeddable video and any video that may be up on YouTube now will be down in 5.3 seconds).

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the epic 7-round shootout (with the CTV/TSN announcers) that saw Slovakia stun the Russians for the first upset win of the tournament.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics Day 7 Men's Ice Hockey Open Thread

Group A: United States vs. Norway 3:00 (USA - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, ItG: Pierre McGuire)
Group A: Switzerland vs. Canada 7:30 (CNBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk)
Group B: Slovakia vs. Russia 12:00 AM (CNBC - Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti)

USA, Canada, and Russia are all in action again today and once again, the most compelling game is in late night. But the big question of the night has to be: will NBC improve their hockey coverage or will the incompetent and irrational morons at NBC once again prevent us from seeing a 1st period of hockey at 7:30 PM ET?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mike Boone Discusses Comparing Flyers To Nazis; Fields Question From Yours Truly

I posted a story the other day about Montreal Gazette writer Mike Boone who compared the Flyers to Nazis. Well, the Flyers blog for SB Nation, Broad Street Hockey, got in contact with Mike Boone and conducted an interview for their podcast, Broad Street Hockey Radio.

They discussed Boone's comments in an interview as Boone tries to give some context to his quotes and tries to elaborate what he meant by his comment when he wrote, "
There's not a franchise in sports I hate more than the Philadlphia Flyers. [....] No, you'd have to have an Olympic Games flashback to 1936 and watch the pride of Hitler's Germany marching into the Berlin stadium to match the feeling of revulsion I experience every time I see the Flyers play."

If the story interested you at all, then it is definitely worth a listen as he does not back down from the questions and he defends the comments. Now whether or not you think his defenses are legitimate or complete B.S., well, that will be your call.

Now we do this blogging as a way to express our opinions on matters in sports, but let's be realistic, a lot of our intended audiences never read what we write. Actually, I'd be shocked and stunned if an Eagle ever read some of my Andy Reid criticisms or if NBC actually read all of our comments regarding NBC and their terrible coverage of the Olympics.

But when it came to Mike Boone and his Nazi-hating ways, BSH Radio gave us the opportunity to leave him a pre-recorded message for him respond to over the air on the podcast. Well, I called and left my message and what do you know, it got played over the air on the most anticipated BSH Radio Podcast yet. I'm sure we've all dreamed about letting some of the people that we write about personally know how we feel, well, I was given that chance with Mike Boone and a small part of this podcast is the result of it.

The interview is right at the beginning and is approximately 19 minutes long (they discuss more topics aside from Boone and Nazis after the interview so that is why the thing at the end says 41 minutes) so sit back, relax, and enjoy! If you don't have time to sit back and relax but still want to listen to me, I come in at the 13:45 mark, however, if you do have time, I would recommend giving the whole interview a listen.

2010 Winter Olympics Day 6 Men's Ice Hockey Open Thread

Group C: Finland vs. Belarus 3:00 (MSNBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk)
Group C: Sweden vs. Germany 7:30 (CNBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk)
Group B: Czech Republic vs. Slovakia 12:00 AM (CNBC - Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti)

Who's ready for more hockey fun?

NBC's "Boss Button" Fail And General Commentary On Their Horrendous Vancouver Performance Thus Far

It is well documented how awesome CBS incorporates the "Boss Button" when it comes to their NCAA March Madness coverage. The pie charts are exceptional and while I don't know how it looks to your boss if you are not supposed to be looking at a pie chart or your job does not involve pie charts or how your boss will follow up on you once they see the pie chart, it still beats the heck out of what NBC is legitimately giving you with their boss button for their Winter Olympics coverage.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, NBC's attempt to deceive your boss!

Let's dissect this now. It's a screenshot on Windows 7 of a blank Excel spreadsheet that is only covering a 3rd of the screen. Can you count the number of things wrong in that last statement?

First of all, how many offices have Windows 7? Secondly, doesn't a BLANK spreadsheet sort of defeat the purpose of the intention of the boss button, which is to, oh, you know, make you look like you are doing something productive! And lastly, the spreadsheet taking up a 3rd of the screen does a great job in highlighting the Windows 7 that your boss and company may or may not have. Sure if you are really savvy enough you can pass it off as Vista, but how many people even use Vista? It sucked monkey testicles so much that people in Vista's heyday, people were paying extra money to downgrade to Windows XP!

Alas, that NBC would throw up such a half-assed boss button is hardly describing. If I were to describe NBC's coverage in only one word.............DreadfullyPainstakinglyUnprofessionallyAwful.

From showing the death of Nodar Kumaritišvili over and over again in slow-mo in primetime the day that he died to spoiling its own events on Twitter before they are aired (even on the east coast) to the all-around awful announcers they hired to somehow thinking that we care about the words and reports of Cris Collinsworth on the Winter Olympics to only streaming hockey and curling on while CTV is trying to stream every single and minute event to the complete debacle of their schedule (more on that in a bit), it has just been a complete disaster. An indefensible disaster.

Take last night for example. At 7:30 PM ET, the Canada-Norway hockey game was supposed to start on CNBC, however, a close women's curling match between the United States and Japan was going on. Now I understand not wanting to cut away from a close curling match featuring the United States and I am not going to complain about that. Too bad that was the only thing NBC did right in handling the situation.

I forget what USA was running at the time, but on MSNBC at the time of Canada's faceoff with Norway was a women's hockey game between the USA and Russia. Now, again, normally I would say don't cutaway from a U.S. hockey game, but when it is in the 2nd half of the 3rd period and the score is 13-0 USA, I think it is a safe assumption to make that a very small portion of the population will be pissed off if you cutaway from that blowout to show the men's Team Canada hockey team in action for the first time in the 2010 Olympics. You know, the same Team Canada team that was mentioned more during the U.S.-Switzerland game than the U.S. and Switzerland were combined.

Okay, so no TV channels available for them at faceoff. Even though it would be an inconvenience to some, NBC can just go directly to streaming the game online at until the games on MSNBC or CNBC concludes, right? Well either they had technical difficulties with the system or the feed, the technology itself is bad (and I find that highly doubtful with Microsoft Silverlight), or the people at NBC are just incompetent morons, but whatever the answer is, NBC did not have a stream up until at least 5 minutes after the puck was dropped.

Now the U.S. women's ice hockey blowout is over and MSNBC does temporarily flip to the Canada-Norway game. At 7:58 PM ET, Mike Emrick announces that the game can now be seen on its originally schedules channel, CNBC. Thus the first thought that pops into my mind is that curling is over and CNBC is now showing the game.

Wrong. Some studio guy was still talking about the curling on CNBC followed by an extended 5-minute commercial break.

Does MSNBC stick with the hockey game until CNBC is finished with their required advertising (despite the fact that the time after a curling match and before you JIP a hockey match is never a good time for an extended commercial)? Of course not! This is NBC we are talking about people and you know what 8:00 on MSNBC means, don't you? It's Countdown with Keith Olbermann's Overblown Ego! Whoopee!

Whose decision this was, I have no idea. Is it possible that Keith Olbermann's ego got in the way and asked that his show not be preempted for 5 minutes so that MSNBC can satisfy a greater audience by airing a Team Canada men's ice hockey game? Absolutely, it is possible. Is it possible that it is somehow in his contract that his show is more important than the Olympics? Just as possible. Could it have just been awful communicating between the sister stations, MSNBC and CNBC? Probably the most likely of events, yes, but regardless, NBC morons made sure that it's television audience missed another 5 minutes of hockey in addition to the beginning of the game that was cutoff just in case the Russian women make one of those ever common 13-goal comebacks that you read about everyday in the papers.

Eventually with 2 minutes left in the 1st period, CNBC started airing Canada vs. Norway.

Again, I am not going to fault CNBC for sticking with a close curling match involving the USA, but something does need to be done about this. For the summer Olympics they had separate channels dedicated to just soccer and baseball, why not do the same here? Why not dedicate a channel just to hockey or a channel just to curling? That way you avoid compressing too much into too small a time frame and thus you risk having to join-in-progress pretty much every sporting event on cable which is what NBC-U did last night. It was just bad. And they even cutoff the first 2 minutes of the Russia-Latvia game for the conclusion of Finland-China women's ice hockey game. Get another channel, have the IOC space out games more, change something because this is the kind of Olympics coverage I would expect with a bunch of high schoolers running the show, not a major American broadcast network, even if it is NBC. This has been pathetic even for them.

What's my overall point in this post? Basically that NBC is a disgrace and should, by law, never be allowed to cover the Olympics again.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics Day 5 Men's Ice Hockey Open Thread

Group A: United States vs. Switzerland 3:00 (USA - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, ItG: Pierre McGuire)
Group A: Canada vs. Norway 7:30 (CNBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, SR: Joe Micheletti)
Group B: Russia vs. Latvia 12:00 AM (CNBC - Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti)

Let the World Cup of Hockey begin!

10:08 PM: We are 112 minutes away from the epic showdown. To get you all ready for Team Latvia to begin their quest for the gold here is some Latvian music to get you fired up.

First, the Latvian national anthem!

And now, Latvia's entry in the 2008 Eurovision Final, Pirates of the Sea!

Latvija par zelta medaļu. Lai dzīvo demi-Dievs Oskars Bārtulis!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The High School Years: Part 6 - Wake Up Call

Missed a part? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

We got to finals week. And after going quite a long time without a mention of it, Anna all of a sudden out of nowhere sent an email asking, “Hey, for some reason i just thought of this: Justin, do you still like Alura?”

It hit me right across the face and I started thinking about it. My emotions started taking control of me. I thought about Alura and how wonderful she was and how sweet and pretty and awesome she was. These feelings, these feelings that I had done such a good job at suppressing for the past month were coming back into me.

I like her now more than I have ever liked her before, but I'm controlling myself. Have I been doing better, do you think? Actually, it's funny that you mentioned that because just earlier today I was wondering to myself if I did the right thing by flat-out telling her that I liked her a lot 2 months ago and later the exact same day here I am telling out right that I like her more now than I ever liked her before. Let me tell you what, I am braver than I ever thought I would be when it comes to dealing with her girl. I'm actually very proud of myself. Seeing as how I we are putting these questions out there, I have a question for Alura. Alura, have you changed your mind at all? You can be honest, I won't be hurt/offended/angry/upset/mad/depressed if you say "no".
What I said was true. At the time I was feeling brave. Braver than I had ever felt in my life, despite the constant rejections and the lack of a date. Just the fact that I was regularly communicating with a girl that I liked was doing wonders for my self-esteem.

Alura did reply to my question with a simple, “Well, actually, no, I haven't. Sorry.”

I was doing so good controlling my inner obsession and now, all of a sudden, this rush of emotion was coming to me. But I had had enough of this. I wanted to break the habit.

Anna, please help me. I was doing so good, but today I'm having one of those days where I literally can't stop thinking about Alura. I know that I will always like her, but when you were absolutely obsessed over Mark, what did you do to cool down the obsession? I was doing so good until you asked me if I still liked her and then all of a sudden I started loving all over again, like I was a month or so ago. I just wished she would go out with me, but that could either a). help me feel better, or b). I could become so crazy over her that I start planning a marriage already. Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
3 months is a little bit too long for a crush and I was beginning to realize it at this point, and I legitimately wanted to break it. Something about that surge of emotion Anna gave me with that question also compelled me to seek her advice on how to break the habit. And from the response I got from the 1-on-1 private email that I sent to her, Anna legitimately wanted to help me.

Well, first of all, ask yourself why you like her so much. Any reasons? Tell me them when you reply. Then think about all her faults. She has many, I assure you. Then say to yourself "what am I gaining in this? Absolutely nothing. I'll just keep liking her for all eternity to no avail and she'll never like me back, what's the point". It also helps to switch your attention from her. Think about Jodie Sweetin every time you find yourself concentrating on Alura.
Yes, I had told her about Jodie Sweetin. I replied by basically telling her what I have told you in previous chapters about how I thought she was beautiful and I had never really liked a girl before. I clued her in into the inner-workings of my mind, just like I have done with you here. However, I was stumped on the faults. Luckily for me, Anna was right on top of it.

1. She doesn't like soda.
2. She doesn't like dogs.
3. She already likes someone else.
4. She talks back to her parents more than even I do.
5. She's really impatient.
6. She pretends to be friends with people and then backstabs them.
7. She's a bully to the losers in our grades.
8. She has really bad handwriting.
9. She has told me several times that she can't wait to get back to work because the guy she likes works with her.
10. This is all being told to you strictly in confidence and you are not telling Alura I told you this personal stuff.

We'll work on those for now. Let me know if you need more faults. I personally don't know why you think she's all that beautiful. I mean, she's not ugly or plain or anything, but she's no raving beauty either, and even my other male friends don't think so either. And she's not all that understanding. She is quite embarrassed by the fact that you like her (again- not a word to her on what I'm telling you). But she is sweet, I can't argue with you on that one if other girls didn't like you, what made you think Alura would? (this has a negative connotation to it, but that's not how it’s meant to sound. it’s a sincere question)
I replied:

Au contraire to your thoughts, I think she is a raving beauty, just she doesn't act like one. Then again, I guess this is all a matter of opinion. Why is she embarrassed that I like her? Again, you know her better, but is she embarrassed because I like her or is she embarrassed because she feels bad and doesn't like me back. Granted, I'm not the most popular kid in school, but I'm not a geek or a nerd or anything like that. What I mean is is that I am smart and I do well in school, I'm just not a geek/nerd person, if that makes sense (okay, maybe a little).

It's not that I thought she would like me, it's just that I never liked a girl more than I like her and my hope was that if I told her how much I really like her she would notice me, like me, and go out with me. Well, I think I got one of three down (I definitley thinks she notices me)

I'm not sure how to mention this without having a really awkward conversation (or by bringing up this conversation) but no one is asking her to email me or anything. If she feels uncomfortable/embarrassed emailing me and she is only doing it because she feels like she has to and doesn't want to hurt my feelings, then tell her (somehow) that she doesn't have to.
Anna sent another email back:

How can you not like dogs? You're practically not human. And she is embarrassed about the fact that you like her. I think she was wishing it would be Mike (shh!). If given the choice, to be absolutely honest, she'd rather have finished mock trials and then never speak to you again, but she's too polite to let you know that she's only emailing because she feels she has to. I'm sorry for my bluntness, but you really have to get over her. Plus, the reason your little ruse to see her in the halls didn't work is because every time she sees you coming, she seriously runs, uses a different route, or hides behind a tall person. No joke.
Ouch. Mike was another member of mock trials and that bit about the hallways got me devastated. Sometimes I would see her and find ways to see her in the hallway to say hi or what not, but the fact that she intentionally runs away from me? No, that, that can’t be. Is she really that hurt? That embarrassed? That scared? To literally run away and go in a different direction?

Basically I was left speechless. I did not know what to say. I sent her an email asking how she knew about Alura’s hiding in the hallways and how bad I felt that in I was torturing her and making her life miserable. I even asked Anna if Alura was going to do mock trials again next year, to which she replied, “She's going to go through with it, because of mike, but she's confessed that she really doesn't want you to start liking her even more”. I told Anna that she did not have to email me anymore and her only reply to that was “her conscience would feel bad”. And to top it all off, Anna added that “You've scarred Alura for life and she's probably never going to be comfortable with you again”.

Anna had explicitly stated that not a word of this would come from my mouth to Alura. But a part of me felt so bad that I just felt like crawling up on my carpet and crying myself to sleep over the ordeal. How else can you get the pain to go away? I’m not a bad person, I knew I was not a bad person, and yet, here I was, scarring this innocent girl for life with my creepy stalkerishness. What was wrong with me? It’s bad enough that I have problems harming flies, now I had to cope with the fact that I have negatively affected someone I cared about in the most ostentatious manner possible.

That urge to say something was too overwhelming. If Anna could break her implicit promise to me that no one would know about my crush on Alura, then I could break my promise that I would not tell Alura that Anna just told me things that Alura did not want me know because it is the only way I could start feeling better about the whole ordeal.

I needed to send her something. I could not keep quiet about this. It’s the only way I could stop hating myself.


Wow, this is hard for me. Um, I have been talking to Anna privately on how to conquer my obsession with you, seeing as how she conquered her obsession with Mark and she told me how much I was bothering you. I kind of understand why you felt that way because I really liked you and you don't really like me. But why did you have to keep all of it a secret from me? If all I am doing is bothering you and making your life hell, then why do you keep emailing me? You don't have to run from me, my intentions are only those of good ones. Now that I know how much I have bothered you I feel so awful because I obviously never meant to do that to you. I'm sorry for causing you any pain or suffering. I understand that you will probably never look at me in a positive light again, but I hope you understand what I am saying. I still want to be friends with you (hopefully you want the same, but if you don't I understand) and hopefully we can still email (in childish tone: I like emails. End childish tone), but if you don't want to I understand. I just want you to forgive me for bothering you and I want to set you free and make you feel better, not like you have to do things just to keep me happy. So what do you say? Can you forgive me and can we start all over? Thanks for your time.

Justin Feinberg

P.S. Please don't be mad at Anna. I wanted advice and she told me all of that stuff that you (with perhaps a reasonable reason) hid from me. The only way I could ever forgive myself is to apologize to you and ask for forgiveness from you (as weird as it sounds it makes perfect sense in my mind), whether I get it or not is irrelevant.

P.P.S. Yes, I think I am finally over my obsession of you. Thanks for trying to keep me happy, but if I ever bother you again, please let me know so I can look at myself and my actions like Anna made me do today.
That felt better. And so she was not left entirely out of the dark, I told Anna what I had sent to Alura. My punishment was to forward the above email to her so she could see what I said. I learned my lesson well.

After a long night of sleeping on everything, Alura got back to me the next day.

It's fun when you and me and Anna are just e-chatting with each other, but yeah, sometimes it gets a little weird. I know you like me, rather obviously, and I know that I probably will never feel the same way because actually, I like someone else. (don't ask me who; he doesn't go to Windy Hill.) I do feel kind of bad that I don't like you in that way and it doesn't really help if you mention it or whatever, even if it is only in fun. It's good that you're getting over me, and I think we can keep e-mailing, probably, but maybe it should be less frequent.
While it did not take away all the pain of harming an innocent person, her response definitely put me to ease.

Alura had deemed that we could keep emailing, just a little less frequently. Alura’s wish would become a reality, at least in the very near future. I may have been in the process of getting over the crush, but the fun of the whole ordeal was just about to begin….

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Rant: NBA All-Star Edition

Good grief I hate the NBA right now more than I normally do.

I am sick and tired of people defending the shit that is on TNT right now.

It's a pointless all-star game that means absolutely nothing! Just because a bunch of big names are playing, does not mean that you need to drag it into JerryWorld and have a concerts before, during it. The festivities started 2 and a half hours game and halftime is just ending! What in the blue fucking hell is this supposed to be?

An all-star game is not the Super Bowl. Don't make it that. Don't pretend that it is. It's not. To think that it is even remotely equivalent is an absolutely quixotic way to go about it. And it truly is embarrassing. The ultimate showoff game in the ultimate showoff league is nothing close to the same level as the Super Bowl. Fuck, the NBA all-star game is nothing close to the same level as the Pro Bowl, which in turn is nothing close to the MLB All-Star game. At least MLB can tout the fact their game actually matters!

What's wrong? Am I saying something that is upsetting you? Does this go against everything that you've come to know and believe about the NBA? Does this offend you?

If it does, WAKE UP!

The fact is this: games are never the Lakers vs. the Cavs; they are all Kobe vs. LeBron. A team sport should be treated as such, a team sport. And the NBA does not do that. The media does not hype it as that. The game lends itself to players, not teams. It always has. It does so now. And unless drastic changes are made, it always will. Why would they change? People pay to see this bullshit. The attendance at JerryWorld tonight was an astonishing 108,713. Congrats Dallas on hosting the highest attended exhibition game ever!

The media defecates and people swallow this game and this league like it's the tastiest filet mignon ever. But the bottom line is this, when the finals are Cleveland vs. Los Angeles, it will be amazing if ESPN mentions the words "Cavs", "Cavaliers", and "Lakers" 5 times. Because gets what, it will be "Kobe vs. LeBron" and guess how the game will play it: you guessed it. It will be Kobe vs. LeBron with 8 other useless and irrelevant players that nobody cares about.

This may not be the NBA Finals, but if anything epitomizes everything bad about the NBA, it is the All-Star game. It's the most boring of the 4 major all-star games and the pomp and circumstance that gets behind it is simply nauseating even more so than the day they are playing it on this year.

Suffice to say, this game represents everything I've grown to not like about the NBA: overhyped, overrated, selfish players, and boring.